Post-Game Quotes: Vanderbilt 67, Auburn 59

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Feb. 22, 2014

Auburn vs. Vanderbilt
February 22, 2014
Auburn Arena

Head Coach Tony Barbee

On Second Half performance...
"It was a tough last 30 minutes, not just the second half. No matter how bad we shoot the ball offensively, you can always have energy; guard, defend, and play tough, and communicate and the last 30 minutes of the game we didn't do that. It's disappointing. I tried to warn the guys of the letdown. It always happens in a game like what we just had. But it is what it is."

On Chris Denson and KT Harrell's performance...
"I can't remember the last time they were both off at the same time. Obviously we need those guys to set the pace for us offensively, but more than that we need their defensive effort and energy. Neither of those guys brought it. Not only do they set the tone offensively, but they set the tone defensively."

On rebounds...
"That goes back to energy. The last 10 minutes of the first half is when it all started. We got up by 15 and then we just assumed the game was over, but that all starts with practice. We have been doing that in practice and shoot a rounds. We come out with great energy and then we decide at the end that that is good enough so we decide to dip and what you do in shoot a rounds and in practice you do in the game."

On KT Harrell's performance...
"He settled too much. He was jab stepping and pump faking too much, and I don't know why. There is no question we need Chris Denson and KT Harrell to set the tone for this team on the offensive side, but more than that we need them to set the tone on the defensive end with their energy and their leadership. They didn't have that tonight."

On advice during the time outs...
"I told them `Start to guard and we can get back in this game.' We got back in for a minute, we took the lead, but then I had to sub because I didn't want to ride those guys the entire second half. We came in with our subs and they made way too many defensive breakdowns, but it wasn't just them."

Forward Allen Payne
On let down from Florida game...
"Absolutely. It was disappointing effort and loss by our team. Starting with me, Chris Denson, and Asauhn Dixon-Tatum as seniors. We just can't have that kind of drop off from a game where we played with that much intensity and fight. To have a second half we did against Vanderbilt, we were giving up wide open shots, it was unacceptable."

On leading by 16 in the first half...
"Honestly, I think it was when I went to the bench with foul trouble early. I was trying to get back in, but Coach felt that we were in such a good flow that he kept me out. I think Jordon Granger did pretty good stepping in. I think I was playing with a lot of intensity, and then when I left I think it kind of dropped a little bit and I could not do much from the bench. But we have to have guys step up, when our starters get in foul trouble."

On K.T. Harrell and Chris Denson struggling...
"I have not (ever seen them struggle at the same time). They did a good job of controlling the guys and making them take tough shots. I know they will bounce back. Those two will be ready for South Carolina on Wednesday."

On last 10 minutes in the first half...
"From what I saw, I think we stopped making shots. We were not really guarding. They kept chipping away. We just barely made it through to the end of the first half. I simply think that they just outplayed us for the last 30 minutes of the game."

Vanderbilt's Head Coach Kevin Stallings
On what happened...
"Well, it's not that hard to describe from my standpoint. We had guys who weren't competing hard at the beginning and who were getting beat to every loose ball and every rebound. At one point the rebounds were 17 for them and 4 for us. I just decided that I've had enough of that. I knew I could have a couple guys that hadn't played much and they would at least play hard. So I put them in, and to their credit, they acted like they were supposed to be in. They played hard, competed, gave our team energy, and weren't afraid to take shots and make plays. Gene Keady told me a long time ago that your five best players aren't always your best players on game night. Tonight Carter [Josephs] and Nate [Watkins] were two of our best players and my job each night is to try to figure out which five are the best. Thank goodness they came through. Luke [Kornet] played really good. Our bench by and large was better than our starters. That hasn't happened much, but I wasn't going to watch that garbage that I watched the first eight or nine minutes. We were down and I said to hell with that, we're going to put some guys in who are going to play hard."

On choosing to start the same guys that finished the half after halftime...
"I sent the five that finished the half because they were the guys who got us back in the game. Again, I will say that crossed my mind, should I go back to the starters? Tom Richardson and I talked about it and we decided that we're going to stick those guys back out there and see what happens. They continued to play well and to the starters' credit, when they came back in, they played better."

On team response to being down...
"I'm really proud of them. I'm proud of Luke. He hadn't been playing well, honestly, and he played great today. Damian [Jones] really competed hard and Rod [Odom] hit some really big shots when he came back in. Rod got kneed in the thigh in practice last night and we weren't even sure if he was going to play. This game was about Carter and Nate really. It was about those two guys coming in. Carter had nine assists and no turnovers. He was making plays and going to the rim and putting their defense in bad positions. I'm really happy for those two guys and really proud of them."

On zone defense slowing down Chris Denson...
"It's hard to guard him one-on-one because he's so good. They shot the ball great the other night at Florida and so maybe we were lucky that they didn't shoot quite as well tonight. As the defense went along, our zone got a little better. Again, we were down 17-4 in rebounds and we finished minus six on the boards but if you're not going to compete, then give someone else a jersey. I feel very confident that if we had stayed with that group that was in, it would have just gotten worse. It wasn't going to get any better."

Vanderbilt Guard Nathan Watkins

On being asked to play...
"I didn't see it coming first of all. I know Rod [Odom] hurt his leg yesterday a little bit in practice but between the slow start and that, coach told me to go in. It was a new experience, the first time I've ever played real minutes in a regular season game. When Carter [Josephs] and I went in, I guess we got the spark we needed to start the comeback."

On playing hard...
"I'm playing against guys just as good every day in practice. I've been here the past year and a half and it didn't feel too different from that. Coach did a good job of preparing us for that."

On helping Luke Kornet...
"Carter and I play on the same team in practice with Luke. We have the starters and then the second five. We've gotten a good chemistry with Carter, Luke, Shelby [Moats], and myself. Every day we keep building chemistry so when we all got in together, we kind of knew what everybody is trying to do."

On not looking tired...
"Maybe I was hiding it because it took me all of halftime to recover from the minutes I played in the first half."

Vanderbilt Guard Carter Josephs

On helping start the comeback...
"When we came in it felt like we were a little flat and we were trying to play hard, play good defense, and try to get some kind of spark."

On thoughts on starting the second half...
"I didn't really think too much of it. We just tried to go in and do the same thing we were doing in the first half. We were playing well so we just tried to keep doing that."

On enjoying the win...
"I wasn't used to playing that many minutes, but playing well is fun."